If you want value, don't listen to dnScoop

There’s an interesting new service out there that everybody’s talking about. Trouble is, Seth Godin is the only one call an apple an apple.

The service is dnscoop and it’s respectable enough to be on a shared host that never seems to be up. When you can get to the website, the idea is yet another website valuation tool and, if it’s in the least bit accurate, my sale of Technosailor should have easily hit the 5 figure number I was asking for because it should be worth $198k.

The problem is, this valuation tool is absolutely worthless – about as worthless as the share host he is on. The thing that bothered me the most about my attempt at selling Technosailor were the bidders who in essence looked at site value purely on revenue. It’s never that cut and dry and anyone who expects to get money from a site needs to understand that a lot more goes into monetization than simply sitting back and hoping to collect revenue.

Worse yet, dnScoop attempts to tell me where I could be making money – like an automated scan can speak with any authority on the issue. Of the recommendations made, it advises that through Text Link Ads, I can make $392/mo and with Adsense I can make more. In both cases, the ad programs are affiliate programs that are not disclosed. Full disclosure: my links above are not affiliate links. If you want to sign up for Text Link Ads and help me make money, do so with the banner in the sidebar, k?

In addition, I can’t understand the valuation that this guy uses based on services like… Altavista? Are they still around? Alexa…? Are they credible now?

So to sum up, the owner of this site is making money based on deceptive practices (I’ll help you learn how to make more money on your site if you click on my boilerplate affiliate ads, but I’m not going to tell you I’m baiting you to click or signup), less than credible data sources (Altavista, Alexa) based on automated data evaluations (like how much money a site can make with TLA).

The reality is that there are better site valuation tools. My personal automated favorite is the SEOMoz Page Strength test which by far gives a more non-deceptive interpretation of a sites value based on a more trusted set of data sources (though it too uses Alexa but far more balanced by other data sources as well).

The ultimate guide to website valuation is still a human one. Phillip Liu wrote an entry (actually examining the sale of Technosailor) that objectively analyzed factors for consideration when determining a site’s value. Phillip makes it obvious that site valuations are far from a cut and dry thing. A very good thing, I’d say.

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Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

6 thoughts on “If you want value, don't listen to dnScoop”

  1. One of the glaring factors that they are utilizing is the number of pages. So a simple, one-page tool, that gets thousands of hits per day doesn’t do well at all.

    Ironically, it hurts dnScoop’s evaluation of their own Domain! Try dnScoop.com in dnScoop.com = $3,685.

    Hmmm. Shouldn’t that say it all?

  2. Hey there. I am the creator of dnScoop, I need to say something in defense of it. Many of the statistics shown on the dnScoop results page are just FYI, and are not used in determining a value. Things like pagerank and the number of indexed pages are given, but not used.

    I have been constantly tweaking and updating the algorithm to make it more accurate every day. It’s not easy.

    Your review is based on a lot of assumptions that just aren’t true. If you have any constructive criticism, I’d be glad to listen.

    By the way, we’re worth over $25,000 now, and we’re on a dedicated host.

    Thanks for the press.

  3. Badi- it’s still wrong. Way wrong. You make way too many assumptions based on incomplete information. Trust me when I say I’m not attacking you. I think dnScoop is a lousy valuation tool though. Currently, the value of this domain is $198k which is laughable considering I was laughed out of the blogosphere when I tried to sell at $30k.

    Tell you what, if you can somehow boil these intangibles down to an algorithmic number, then maybe you’re on to something that can be taken seriously.

  4. Hi Badi,

    I’m not often critical of websites – I love seeing new tools out there that help folks less technical. I guess the bottom line is that there is no validity to the value you output. Do you compare it with actual sales? If so, please release those findings.

    The problem comes with those less technical use an application like yours and then have false expectations. It’s just a fun tool, not reality – you should not market it as anything but.

    Perfect example: Scrapblogger is a tool that will most likely sell for in the 6 or 7 digit value, but you folks show it as $0. Your tool can’t determine the age of my site so rather than estimate based on other variables, it simply drops the value through the floor.

    It’s not a site valuation tool unless you can provide some kind of indicator that sites are accurately selling based on the prices that you are predicting. You state that it’s not 100% accurate – but you probably have no idea if it’s even 1% accurate.

    Google: $2B?
    Microsoft: $700M?
    Apple: $400MM?
    Colts: $50K?

    C’mon! Throwing up a cool equation and looking up a bunch of stats isn’t telling anyone anything. You should not set these false expectations with people.

    Simply put, you’re falsely advertising.

  5. I never claimed that the value was accurate. It is a challenge to try to make it accurate, but unless I start using some sort of human intelligence, like Amazon’s digital turk, there’s just no way to do it. Even then, a domain estimate is subjective, and can change based on who’s buying. If anything, my tool attempts to use variables that do have value to give a general idea of what a site is worth.

    Google paid 1.6 Billion dollars for youtube, but do you seriously think it was worth that much? No. That figure just shows how badly Google wanted to acquire the site, and how unwilling the creator was to sell.

    Just because you couldn’t sell your site for $30K, doesn’t mean that there’s not someone out there who wouldn’t pay at least that for it.

    It seems a site like this should be making at least that much per year.

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